Be tough on the problem and easy on the people.
- Roger Dawson, Extraordinary Teacher of Negotiating
Most people would say wearing glasses is less than ideal. They indicate that you cannot see well, tend to get very uncomfortable especially after wearing them all day, and often are aggravating like when you cannot find them. Is there anything worse than looking for your seeing-aid when you cannot see well? As a glasses wearer, I am onboard with all of these or was until a few days ago.
I had just finished running and was taking my usual cool-down walk around the little building that houses my office when I met two of the people who work upstairs from me. We started chatting and somehow the topic of eyesight came up. I mentioned that since I did not have my glasses on they looked a little blurry, sort of like the soft focus so common in classic black and white movies. They were quite pleased to be connected to such a setting, one in which flaws are obscured.
I commented it was equally pleasant to be able to engage with people and not see any imperfections or faults. It was a Navy Rabbi moment. As I headed to the shower I thought about whether flawed vision is better. My conclusion – most of the time:
View People as if You Are Not Wearing Glasses
During everyday situations, it is much better to overlook people’s shortcomings. This is particularly true about your family and friends. Are your spouse’s foibles going to change just because you point them out yet again? Will your child suddenly see the light when you address his inadequacies one more time?
Even with strangers, what is the point of seeing all of their defects? Better to view them through the fog of indistinct vision.
When is visual acuity required? If you are entering into a significant relationship with someone you need to clearly see his faults before committing. Whether it is a marriage or a business partnership, overlook reality at your peril. However, the goal is to understand the challenges these faults will create rather than searching for someone without shortcomings. This leads to concept number 2:
Keep Your Glasses on When Looking at Situations
You cannot go through life with blinders on. Challenges, be they physical, mental, or spiritual, rarely improve through a less than candid assessment or a fantasy plan to address them. Better to see difficulties clearly and map out a well-defined strategy to handle them.
Roger Dawson is right about more than just negotiating. His philosophy of being easy on people and tough on problems is a recipe for living successfully and intentionally.
Question – What benefits or detriments do you think there are to flawed vision?
Please comment on this question or ask another question below.